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PM Imran Khan ready to share ‘threat letter’ with CJP: Asad Umar

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  • Nawaz involved, PDM leadership not “unaware” of letter, Umar says.
  • Select few civil-military leaders have seen it, he says.
  • Umar hopes after letter, several lawmakers will no side with PM.

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said Tuesday Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to share the “threat letter” with Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

In a press conference along with Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Umar said only a select few people in the civil-military leadership have seen the letter due to its “sensitivity”.

The planning minister said there was a need to explain the “letter” that the prime minister had read out in the March 27 rally, but it could not be shown publicly due to its “sensitive nature”.

Umar noted that after the masses questioned the credibility of the letter, the prime minister deliberated over sharing the letter with someone, and he thought that it would be right to share it with the CJP — as he is a credible person.

“…he holds a high office […] and the chief justice himself is a well-respected man,” the federal minister said, noting that it would be shared with the CJP when the need might arise.

“I have seen this letter myself and a few members of the federal cabinet have seen it as there are laws that dictate sharing such sensitive documents,” he said.

The prime minister had Sunday revealed that “foreign elements” are involved in the attempts to topple his government and said, “some of our own people” are being used in this regard.

The premier, while flashing a letter before the public during PTI’s rally in Islamabad, said that he has “written evidence” that “money has been pouring in from abroad,” while “some of our people are being used to topple the government.”

The Opposition, however, has turned down the narrative that a foreign conspiracy plot is being hatched to oust the government and berated PM Imran Khan for shifting blame for his “incompetence”.

Addressing a charged PDM rally in Islamabad yesterday, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had said no foreign powers were working against the incumbent government as the prime minister himself was the “biggest threat” to the country.

The prime minister is also embattled as he is fighting a no-confidence motion that was tabled against him in by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif in the lower house.

What is in the letter?

Sharing the details of the letter, Umar said it was “noteworthy” that the letter was dated even before the Opposositon had submitted the no-confidence motion in the NA secretariat.

“…it is important as this letter clearly mentioned the no-confidence motion. It was also written that if the no-confidence motion fails and the prime minister remains in power, it can have severe consequences,” he said, referring to the threat PM Imran Khan mentioned in the rally.

The letter also mentions Pakistan’s foreign policy, Umar said, without elaborating what it says.

“No-confidence motion and foreign hand are interlinked, these are not two separate things,” the federal minister said.

Who are the people involved?

Umar said without a doubt, former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif is involved in the “conspiracy” against PM Imran Khan.

“When the prime minister wants, he will reveal more details about Nawaz’s activities, and it has already been reported in the media whom the PML-N leader has met in the recent days,” Umar said.

The PML-N supremo is in London and he has met officials from the “intelligence agencies of other countries”.

Chaudhry said this was one of the reasons why he was against sending Nawaz abroad as people like him become “stooges of international establishment”.

“He met Israel’s ambassador as well,” Chaudhry said.

The federal minister said the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) leadership is not “unaware” of the letter. They have repeatedly mentioned “that matters have settled”, Umar said, without going into further details.

The federal minister said several lawmakers — from the Opposition and the government — might rethink their position and side with PM Imran Khan during the voting on the no-confidence motion after this development.

Message for lawmakers

“Until now, they were unaware, but now, they have been informed about the letter. So, it is up to them to decide whether they will side with forces working against Pakistan or not,” he added.

Chaudhry said this is “not a new thing” as earlier ex-prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated, former premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was prosecuted, and former military ruler Gen Zia-ul-Haq lost his life in a plane crash.

The information minister said that the decisions taken in past were part of Pakistan’s history. “But now, Pakistan has a leader who is not attending foreign phone calls and is connected with the people.”

‘So-called seniors’

Lashing out at YouTubers, he said: “Some so-called seniors have started vlogging, whose programmes do not get ratings, and have started sharing the letter of the Europen Union.”

Chaudhry said the letter of the Europen Union was already public, adding that the media “does not have the letter”. 

“Please learn how to verify news from young reporters,” he added.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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